ely Champagnes & Sparkling Wines
Sound of corks popping…
All it takes is one, somewhere in the background to cause a little jolt of excitement, and maybe just a twinkle of mischief. We may not have as much to play with as before, but that shouldn’t mean that we can’t still have fun! With that in mind, here is a list of Champagnes and sparkling wines that not only represent great value for their price, but also deserve a place among your wines.
1. Ca’ Morlin Prosecco Frizzante : Perfect for…… Parties
This is a perfect choice for entertaining of any kind. Not only is it everything a Prosecco should be- fresh, frothy and fruity- this is also frizzante. This means that is has a softer spritz or fizz than most sparklers, and as a result, attracts a lower rate of duty from our lovely government. So, the same producer will make both a Spumante (Sparkling) and a Frizzante (less sparkling) but the latter can cost up to €5 less in a shop. Don’t be put off by a screwcap on your Frizzante – just be prepared to drink up – the bubbles won’t last as long.
2. Campos de Estrellas Cava: Perfect for …… Morning
As we all know, over the course of the last decade, Champagne sales have significantly fallen and Prosecco sales have rocketed. All well and good, and to be expected. But for some reason, Cava seemed to miss out on the cheaper sparkling wine boom. This is a great pity, not only because there are some wonderful wines being made, but also because they are much closer in style to Champagne. Usually produced from native Spanish varieties such as Xarel- lo and Paralada, although some include a little Chardonnay, Cava often displays some of the lovely biscuity, yeasty flavours found in great Champagne, alongside pear and apple fruit. It is also light enough to drink by itself, or, if you’re feeling indulgent, with breakfast.
3. Bollinger Special Cuvee: Perfect for ….. Dinner
One of the most famous names in Champagne, and with good reason. Bollinger have been doing things their way, and producing their distinct style of Champagne regardless of trends or fads. The blend is dominated by Pinot Noir, providing a structure and ‘vinous’ quality not often found in NV Champagnes. In fact, it is often described as being more “wine –like” than many of its peers. This is most certainly true when it comes to food. On its own, Bollinger is without question one of my favourite Champagnes, however, when paired well with food it becomes one of my all time favourite wines. It is especially wonderful with shellfish such as lobster and prawns, but also works with poultry and even some cheese.
4. G.D. Vajra Moscato d’Asti 2012 : Perfect for…… After dinner
One of my finds of the year, and, as a style of wine criminally undervalued. Produced from the Moscato grape in Piedmonte, this is a lightly sparkling, lightly sweet dessert wine. Bursting with flavours of peach and apricot, and with a lively citrus twist, this is one of the most refreshing wines I can think of, and ideal for when you’ve eaten a little too much, but not yet ready to give up. It is also only 5.5% alcohol, so there is no excuse not to try it.
5. Taittinger Nocturne “Sec” NV Champagne: Perfect for …. The rest of the night
Sec Champagnes have never really taken off in Ireland but that is all about to change.
Yes, “Sec “ means sweet, but these should not be thought of in the sense of traditional sweet wines. Taittinger are renowned for their delicate yet powerful Champagnes and this is no exception, with flavours of peach and white flowers, followed by a subtly sweet, but distinctively smooth and mellow finish. Designed, and perfect, for drinking long into the night!